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Circ Res. 2005 Sep 16;97(6):512-23.

Endothelial/pericyte interactions.

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Division of Matrix Biology, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


Interactions between endothelial cells and mural cells (pericytes and vascular smooth muscle cells) in the blood vessel wall have recently come into focus as central processes in the regulation of vascular formation, stabilization, remodeling, and function. Failure of the interactions between the 2 cell types, as seen in numerous genetic mouse models, results in severe and often lethal cardiovascular defects. Abnormal interactions between the 2 cell types are also implicated in a number of human pathological conditions, including tumor angiogenesis, diabetic microangiopathy, ectopic tissue calcification, and stroke and dementia syndrome CADASIL. In the present review, we summarize current knowledge concerning the identity, characteristics, diversity, ontogeny, and plasticity of pericytes. We focus on the advancement in recent years of the understanding of intercellular communication between endothelial and mural cells with a focus on transforming growth factor beta, angiopoietins, platelet-derived growth factor, spingosine-1-phosphate, and Notch ligands and their respective receptors. We finally highlight recent important data contributing to the understanding of the role of pericytes in tumor angiogenesis, diabetic retinopathy, and hereditary lymphedema.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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